Knowledgeable canine people know that dogs can have four types of blue coats: the genetic blue dilute of blue Great Danes; the progressive silvering blue (puppies are born black but later turn bluish) of Kerry blue terriers; the blue-tick (really an optical illusion caused by dense black-white mottling) of Australian cattle dogs; and the blue merle pattern made famous by the Australian shepherd. Recently, a fifth type of blue dog has appeared in India near Mumbai and its bizarre blue hue has an equally bizarre cause.
“It was shocking to see how the dog’s white fur had turned completely blue.”
Arati Chauhan who runs the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell told the Hundustan Times that he had seen five blue dogs and supplied pictures as proof. While the appearance of the blue dogs was as shocking as their bright color, it didn’t take long for local residents to figure out what turned the dogs blue – the Tajola industrial area on the Kasadi river that is home to – brace yourself – 997 chemical, pharmaceutical, engineering and food processing factories!
That’s right – 997 factories on the banks of one river. What could possibly go wrong? If only blue dogs could talk.
The overtaxed waters of the Kasadi river get little protection from the local Common Effluent Treatment Plant which treats effluent (waster water) from 347 of those plants. 347! We’ll do the math … that leaves 650 plants on their own. Unlike the plants, the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell followed the rules by filing a complaint with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). The board sent investigators to the area and traced a trail of blue back to a private company next to the Common Effluent Treatment Plant that was dumping blue dye used for detergents and other products into the river. The company claimed the area had been cordoned off and the dogs breached the fences while looking for food and got the blue dye on them. That’s nice … blame the victims.
“We have only spotted blue dogs so far. We do not know if birds, reptiles and other creatures are affected or if they have even died owing to the dye discharged into the air.”
Arati Chauhan points out what is obvious to everyone except companies that blame dogs for getting into blue pollutants – there’s other animals using this river and the land and air around it too … not to mention humans.
According to data that was difficult for local residents to obtain (what a surprise), the level of oxygen in the river’s water was too low to sustain animal life while the amount of chloride was at a level toxic to animals, fish and vegetation. The level of oxygen was also unsafe for humans and the pollution level of the river was 13 times the accepted safe limit.
While reports did not say if the coloring made the dogs ill or if it could be cleaned off, one pointed out that this is nothing new. A 2013 story on Dharavi, the largest slum in Mumbai, mentions a Blue Dog Street which got its name for obvious reasons.
Where’s the mystery, you ask? Here it is … how can humans treat their fellow humans and man’s best friend this way? Can nothing stop pollution in the name of profit? While no one wants these poor dogs to evolve into the first of a new type of blue dogs, perhaps they can become poster dogs for a worldwide cleanup project. After all, shouldn’t “man’s best friend” go both ways?